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29 YEARS ON Devi Lal judgment used in Dushyant plea

November 20, 2019 05:58 AM


Devi Lal judgment used in Dushyant plea


A Supreme Court (SC) judgment upholding appointment of Devi Lal as deputy prime minister of the country 29 years ago helped quash a petition against appointment of his great-grandson Dushyant Chautala as deputy chief minister Haryana.

While dismissing a petition challenging Dushyant’s appointment as deputy CM, the Punjab and Haryana high court relied on one of the SC verdicts passed in K M Sharma versus Devi Lal case in which the apex court had upheld Devi Lal’s appointment as deputy PM, observing that his description as deputy PM does not confer any power of PM on him and it cannot be said that the oath administered to him as deputy PM was not in accordance with the Constitution.

Dushyant’s appointment as deputy CM was challenged before the Punjab and Haryana high court on the ground that the designation of the deputy CM is unknown in law and thus, the oath administered to him as deputy CM is illegal and against the provisions of law.

Dushyant Chautala and his great-grandfather Devi Lal

Bench also relied on SC, Karnataka HC judgments

Referring to the judgment passed by the apex court in January 1990 in Devi Lal’s case, the high court dismissed the petition observing that mere description of a person as deputy Prime Minister or deputy chief minister of the state does not amount to a violation of the Constitution nor does it confer upon the persons any extra powers under the Constitution.

“...In such circumstances giving oath to a person as deputy chief minister is not invalid as the status of a person continues to remain as minister. As the law in this regard has already been laid down by the SC followed by various high court s with which we respectfully agree and has been extensively considered and decided rejecting identical issues as raised by the petitioner,” observed the division bench comprising Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Rajiv Sharma in its order released on Tuesday.

Besides Devi Lal’s case, the bench also relied on other judgments, including the one passed by the Karnataka high court in P Venkatesh versus state of Karnataka and Supreme Court in Devidas versus Gopinath Munde in which appointments of deputy CMs in Karnataka and Maharashtra were upheld.

The petitioner in the present case had submitted that Dushyant’s appointment as deputy chief minister was a marriage of convenience between BJP and JJP and is not in accordance with the enunciated provisions of the Constitution of India.

Contesting the plea, the advocate general (AG), Haryana, B R Mahajan submitted that this issue had already been considered by a series of decisions. He then specifically submitted that the apex court in Devi Lal’s case had upheld the appointment of Chaudhary Devi Lal as deputy Prime Minister.

Dushyant had taken the oath as deputy chief minister of Haryana on October 27 along with Manohar Lal Khattar, who was sworn in as the state's chief minister.


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